Music Legend Tom Petty Dies Aged 66

Tom Petty Dies

Music Legend Tom Petty Dies Aged 66

American singer-songwriter Tom Petty has died in California aged 66 after he was found in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early on Monday.

A statement issued on behalf of his family said he was taken to hospital, but could not be revived and died later that evening, BBC writes.

The lead singer of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rock band, the music legend produced such hits as American Girl, Breakdown, Free Fallin’ and Learning to Fly.

“He died peacefully at 20:40 Pacific time (03:40 GMT Tuesday) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” said his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades.

A co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys group in the late 1980s, Petty was on the forefront of the heartland rock movement, alongside legendary artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger.

“It’s shocking, crushing news,” said Bob Dylan, after the death was announced.

“I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1950 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

It is said that he decided to become a musician after shaking Elvis Presley’s hand in the 1950s, after which he traded his slingshot for a box of records and never looked back.

He also found solo success in 1989 with his album Full Moon Fever, which featured one of his most popular songs Free Fallin, co-written with Jeff Lynne.